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Many of us have forgotten the sound of 56K modem connecting to the internet as it was ages ago. In reality, for some, no more than a decade has passed since they’ve heard it for the last time. For those of you who are a bit younger and have no memory of Dial-Up, highest internet speed used to be 128 Kbps, which translated into downloading an average sized mp3 file for as long as 10 minutes. Those who were not lucky enough to have ISDN had to cope with double the download time.
Today, however, the situation is quite different and we tend to take our internet quality for granted Downloading an mp3 takes a few seconds at most, an average movie downloads in 10 minutes and we are able to live stream high-definition video without any trouble. Even our data has migrated from hard drives into the cloud. It is like most of our life is stored online.
Considering the world we live in and the way of life we lead, it is not so far-fetched to say that the large portion of our lives depends on the Internet and that, at the same time, its progress is our progress as well. With this in mind, it is evident that the new internet technologies will have a big impact on all of us. We’ll be looking into a couple of new technologies science has in store for us in the future and one that’s been with us for a while, but is still improving.
Fibre optic is not a new thing. It is the upgrade to the existing cable and DSL types of internet. Though it’s been commercially introduced in the early 2000’s, the coverage of fibre optic is not as widespread as expected, given its age. Speeds gained from fibre optic are immense, starting at 100 Mbps all the way up to 1000 Mbps (gigabit internet) and even more in some experimental cases. Guys over at Fastmetrics created a table of compared internet speed tests of available conventional technologies.
Some of the biggest players in the fibre optic internet business in the US are Verizon, AT&T, and Google Optic. Almost all of the world’s internet depends on fiber optic, because cables transmitting intercontinental data are made of optical fibers. Also, this type of internet communication is the backbone of high-speed mobile data – LTE and the upcoming 5G, as it is the only one capable of transmitting such high amount of data – up to 40 Tbsps.
Current internet protocol TCP has been introduced in 1974. It has been serving us quite well, as a matter of fact, it still does. But, science is such that it won’t leave anything alone just because it works, when there is always a way for it to perform better. That is why Akamai came up with GIGA.
Giga is a new internet protocol that will hopefully replace the TCP protocol in the near future. Initial tests conducted by Akamai, which operates more than 200 000 servers worldwide, show that Giga improves upon TCP to 30% in average.
For example, tests in India and China show improvements of around 150%, and in Germany of only a few percent. This is quite meaningful, as the implementation of Giga does not require additional investments in equipment because it utilizes the existing one. All you will need is a computer and Windows older than XP. Oh, and ISPs to accept the new protocol as well.
Since the year 2000, phones have been able to connect to the internet via GPRS. Ever since the introduction of 3G we were able to use them for more than just reading the newspaper, browsing social media and instant messaging.
It is quite normal today that you download a song or a video in a matter of seconds to your phone. In the same time, we use our phones to upload photos, videos and high definition audio files to our social media profiles and our cloud storage. Even though some countries have just been connected via 4G, the 5G network is already in the works. It’s being tested by major operators showing massive improvements on the 4G – bigger speeds, lower latencies, more stability, better coverage, better spectral efficiency, etc.
The 5G network might be launched as early as 2020 in some areas.
We have already surpassed internet speeds that enabled us to transfer data at the same speed as we used to in local area networks (100 Mbps and Gigabit). Some older computers won’t be able to utilize the full speed of new protocols and connection types, which will lead to new advancements in the fields of hardware development. Higher internet speeds might even finally instigate the rise of remote gaming and extinguished the need for a locally owned PC or a console.
Who knows, maybe someday we’ll probably be connected directly to the internet via chips implemented into our bodies – Ghost in the Shell anyone?